This winter, Sense's goal for us was to help us develop good fitness & physical resilience through repeated Kihon training: Warm up drills, Good Kamae, Footwork (Suriashi, Fumikomi), strong continuous Kiai, Kirikaeshi, Uchikomi-geiko (Big Men, Kote-Men, Dō, Rensoku Men) & Kakari-geiko.
It is very important to develop good physical fitness overtime so that our body can be conditioned to perform more delicate & advanced manoeuvres with faster speed, accurate precision & correct power in due course. Remember, all good things takes time!
Therefore, for beginners & Kyu grades, we must remember to not rush when doing our drill practices, as we must start by developing muscle memory with the correct Kihon movements in order to not develop bad habits.
Make sure we take our time to execute each strike with precision, Ichibyoshi & Ki-Ken-Tai-Itchi - the minimum requirement for passing grading.
Ensure each motion is done properly in one combined movement or Ichibyoshi: full shoulder rotation, concentrate grip with left middle, ring & little finger, fully extend left arm & wrist (almost like a throwing action) before stopping the forward momentum with Tenouchi from the right thumb, middle, ring & little fingers on contact with the target areas.
For Dō strikes, we must remember to execute the strike in a downward diagonal direction instead of horizontal. Once we are in the correct distance, we need to rotate our shoulders down to the level of belly button with the Shinai already in a diagonal direction. Keep our shoulders & elbows tucked away next to the side of our body before extending our left arm while keeping the left hand in the center line, then perform Tenouchi on contact with the right side of opponents Dō. Once finished Tenouchi, immediately release the left grip on the Shinai, relax the right hand & rotate the right wrist to allow the Kensen to naturally slide & drop across the front of the Dō to smoothly & swiftly move both the Shinai & body away from the front to the left side of the opponent with Suriashi while performing Zanshin.
During these cold & dark winter times, it is often easy to become depressed, get sick or injured, or just too busy with other commitments. Therefore, there may be times when we had to miss out on precious Keiko opportunities. However, don’t be stressed or worried you’ll be left behind! We must remember 一期一会 / Ichigo Ichie / one opportunity one encounter, so each day is a new day & each keiko is a new experience to learn from. All those sweats, blood & tears shed from our efforts in past Keiko will never be in vain, & all those experiences will stay with us for life.
So don’t forget when the time is right for us to return to Dōjo, WKC will always open its doors for us, so we must treasure any Keiko opportunities we have with each other & always give our 120% effort to help each other train & improve ourselves one step at a time.
We all have our own hurdles in life, but we shouldn’t let each challenge deflate our spirit nor dictate our lives, but rather we should try our best to overcome & learn from them to become a better version of ourselves which we can all be proud of & live our lives to the fullest.
I was actually not at my best today due to chronic work-related neck & shoulder pain relapsing. My initial plan was to just do some footwork training, but I just couldn’t resist joining in for the rest of the Keiko at the end. Kendo is such a wonderful way of life that is just so amazingly addictive but in a good way❤️❤️
We’re so blessed to have very knowledgeable & considerate Sam & Marleen Sensei at WKC who not only lead the Keiko, spread their time to teach & guide juniors & seniors alike, but also constantly share with us beneficial wisdoms of life which will inspire & encourage us to develop better mental resilience.
We’re also fortunate to have many experienced Senpais at WKC, each with their own specialties to be good role models for us to look up to & help guide & train the juniors to become better.
Sensei & Senpai-dachi, どうもありがとうございました / doumo arigatou gozaimashita / thank you very much for training with us 🙏🙏🙏